54% Driven To Wearables By Reward Features; Price Holds Back The Others

If the price is right, consumers may swarm toward buying a wearable device.

While many consumers already own wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches, the main barrier to others joining in is the cost.

Of those who don’t yet own a wearable and are unlikely to get one, price is the main stumbling block, according to the Connected in a Wearable World study by PWC.

It’s not just one type of wearable that consumers own, but rather a pretty wide range. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 45% -- Fitness band
  • 27% -- Smartwatch
  • 15% -- Smart glasses (including VR/AR glasses)
  • 14% -- Smart video/photo device
  • 12% -- Smart clothing

Those people around the world also find plenty of reasons to own a wearable. Here are the motivators, according to the PWC study:

  • 54% -- Features that reward frequent users with monetary rewards
  • 45% -- Has gaming features to compete with others
  • 45% -- Provides information that would otherwise not have
  • 44% -- Allows to cut back on spending
  • 43% -- Has apps or features that reward with loyalty points
  • 36% -- Looks good

On the other side, those without wearable devices also find plenty of reasons not to get one. In every category of fitness band, smart glasses, smartwatches and smart clothing, the number one obstacle is price.

The second most common hesitation is the fear that the device would not be used, which would likely make price an even larger concern, with the idea of spending a lot of money for something that won’t be used being not such a wise investment.

On the upside, those more in the market for a future purchase also see plenty of potential reasons to take the plunge. Here’s what would drive them:

  • 36% -- It’s affordable
  • 30% -- It helps me be more productive
  • 25% -- It tracks personal information that is important
  • 16% -- It works seamlessly with other mobile devices
  • 14% -- It looks fashionable
  • 14% -- It helps to be more productive at work

It appears that wearables could grow substantially more, beyond the estimated 20% of consumers who have them now.

As long as the price is right.

Like many other aspects of the Internet of Things, it still comes down to perceived value.


The world of wearables will be discussed in detail tomorrow at the coming MediaPost IoT Marketing Forum in New York. Check out the agenda here.

6 comments about "54% Driven To Wearables By Reward Features; Price Holds Back The Others".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, August 2, 2016 at 1:57 p.m.

    There are far more reasons than price to reject wearables. Like who wants the hassle? Constant connection is a human issue for many. They don't offer significant value for most people. Etc...

    This survey is pretty superficial. Represents the reason IoT is struggling despite the incredible hype right now. After all, IoT remains (after years and years) primarily FitBit and a bunch of knock-offs. It's going to take some real honesty to break through with something beyond FitBit.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, August 2, 2016 at 2:13 p.m.

    Good point about Fitbit, Doug, though the study is a pretty wide--ranging worldwide view.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 2, 2016 at 4:27 p.m.

    Small wonder that when researchers try to interview typical consumers about the IoT---even when they try to explain what they think it is ----many people have no idea what they are talking about. A classic case of promotional hype with little substance. Do people really need to be totally "connected"? Is this a good thing?Are marketers champing at the bit to pour billions of promotional dollars into IoT?

  4. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC replied, August 2, 2016 at 4:53 p.m.

    I think your last point is the right one. But it's not marketers. There are swarms of tech investors who have been looking for investments where they'd get outstanding returns and they seem to have decided that IoT is the perfect place for venture money to blow up big. At least that seems to explain the mad dash for all things IoT... (After all, it's a bit slow on other opportunities for that kind of investment right now.)

  5. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, August 2, 2016 at 5:06 p.m.

    Point well taken about consumer knowledge of what IoT even is, Doug. Many of the surveys include questions that attempt to at least define the relevant aspect based on the question. One example is a "connected car," which can mean different things even based on which manufacturer is 'connecting' it.

  6. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, August 2, 2016 at 5:08 p.m.

    That last one was to ed, Doug...and you also are correct about investors. But there also is a push from the creators of the technology, as each visit to CES in Las Vegas each January highlights.

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